The Los Angeles Rams have hit a turning point in their 2023 campaign, and all of a sudden find themselves within arms reach of a postseason spot with five games remaining. The turnaround can be directly tied to when Matthew Stafford returned from his thumb injury, as L.A. is 3-0 since he came back including big wins over the Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns.
But Stafford’s return is only part of the puzzle. His offensive line has also drastically turned things around and have been instrumental in the Rams recent success. In the eight games between Weeks 3-11, the Rams offensive line allowed 21 sacks. While not a bottom of the league figure, there was certainly room to improve.
Now, the Rams offensive line — a unit consisting of Steve Avila, Kevin Dotson, Rob Havenstein, Alaric Jackson and Coleman Shelton — has not given up a sack in two weeks. L.A. has put up 37 and 36 points, respectively, in those two outings.
Stafford spoke about the improved offensive line play and how excited he is about seeing the unit at their best.
“Thank you. I was going to say something if nobody asked me,” Stafford said. “My guys were balling today so I was so fired up. That’s a hell of a rush. They were bringing pressures, they were rushing four, they were doing all sorts of stuff to us and our guys to step up there and protect the way they did today was amazing.
“And then be able to really lean on them in the fourth quarter too and run the rock when we needed to. A couple times, Kyren (Williams) got downhill and we were able to ice the game that way. So proud of those guys. It shows up the way they work, the way they go about their business every single day. I thought we had a great plan but shoot, we threw the rock. We weren’t sitting there just protecting those guys up front. We were just saying let’s go play our game and have a lot of confidence in those guys and proud of the way they played.”
The Rams offensive line has been a point of contention for the last two years since the retirement of All-Pro tackle Andrew Whitworth. L.A. has used what little draft capital they have to rebuild their offensive line from the ground up, and as of the last two weeks, that work seems to be paying off.
At this rate, the Rams could find themselves as the surprise team of the season by making the postseason. It rests largely on if the offensive line can continue to protect Stafford and open running lanes for Kyren Williams like they have been.
Kobie Turner’s confidence growing each week
Rams rookie defensive lineman Kobie Turner has been a standout as well during the team’s recent hot stretch. He was everywhere in both the Cardinals and Browns victories and feels he’s only getting better from here.